Role conflict; role ambiguity; frontline employee; departmental stores; customers; stress


Rapid developments in the Indian Economy post-liberalization in 1991 have prompted institutions like the World Bank to forecast that India would be the fourth-largest economy in the world by 2020 (Budhwar and Bhatnagar, 2009). Following globalization, this has attracted a large number of foreign investors and companies to India. HRM in India has evolved as a specialised function (Budhwar and Bhatnagar, 2009). According to Budhwar and Bhatnagar, 2009 India had a long history of labour legislation and industrial relations and there are many challenges to the HRM systems in India, due to the diverse nature of Indias society which is marked by regional, sectoral, socio-cultural and political variation. In such a climate it is extremely difficult to have a uniform HR system. According to Wheatherly and Tansik (1993) employees have to deal with the demands from superiors as well as the needs and wishes of customers. Because of such a boundary spanning role, the retail frontline employees are in dilemma whether to customize the retail services as per customers needs or to obey the organizational guidelines and procedures (Bitner, 1990). This dilemma often leads to job role stress. There are different types of job role stress (Pareek, 1993) of these the research under study deals with the two job role stressors prominent in retail industry job role conflict and job role ambiguity ( Kahn, 1964). According to Heskett et al. (2003) front line employees behavior and

Full Text : PDF

  • Abramis, D. J. (1994), ‘Work role ambiguity, job satisfaction, and job performance: Metaanalyses and review’ Psychological Reports, Vol. 75, pp.1411–1433.
  • Adelman, P. K. (1989), ‘Emotional labor and employee well-being’ Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
  • Aneja, R.K (2006), ‘HR Factor in Retail Largely ignored’, 2006/dec/30spec.htm
  • Behrman, Douglas N. & Perreault, William D. (1984), ‘A Role Stress Model of the Performance and Satisfaction of Industrial Salespersons’, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 48, pp. 9-21.
  • Bettencourt Lance A. and Stephen W. Brown (1997), ‘Contact Employees: Relationships among Workplace Fairness, Job Satisfaction and Prosocial Service Behaviors,’ Journal of Retailing, Vol. 73 No.4, pp. 39-61.
  • Bettencourt Lance A. and Stephen W. Brown. (2003), ‘Role stressors and customer-oriented boundary-spanning behaviors in service organizations’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 394-408.
  • Bitner, M.J., (1990), ‘evaluating service encounters: the effects of physical surroundings and employee responses’, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 54, pp. 69-82.
  • Borman, W. C., S. J. Motowidlo. (1993), ‘Expanding the criterion domain to include elements of contextual performance’, N. Schmitt, W. C. Borman, eds. Personnel Selection in Organizations. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, pp.71–98.
  • Brewster, C. (1999), ‘Strategic Human Resource Management: the Value of Different Paradigms’, Management International Review, Vol. 39, pp.45-64.
  • Brief, Arthur A. and Stephan J. Motowidlo (1986), ‘Prosocial Organizational Behaviors,’Academy of Management Review, Vol. 11 (October), 307-311.
  • Budhwar, P. and Bhatnagar, J. (2009), ‘The Changing Face of People Management in India’, London: Routledge.
  • Chenet, P., Tynan, C., & Money, A. (2000), ‘the service performance gap: Testing the redeveloped causal model’, European Journal of Marketing, Vol.34, pp.472.
  • Dubinsky, A. J., & Mattson, B. E. (1979), ‘Consequences of role conflict and ambiguity experienced by salespeople’, Journal of Retailing, Vol.57, pp. 70–86.
  • George and Kenneth Bettenhausen (1990), ‘Understanding Pro-social Behavior, Sales Performance, and Turnover: A Group-Level Analysis in a Service Context,’Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 75 No. 6, 698-709.
  • Goodwin, C., Radford, R., (1993), ‘Models of service delivery: an integrative perspective’, Advances in Services Marketing and Management, Vol. 2, pp. 231-252.
  • Heskett, J. L., W. E. Sasser, L. A. Schlesinger. (2003), ‘the Value-Profit Chain: Treat Employees like Customers and Customers like Employees’, The Free Press, New York.
  • Hochschild, A. (1983), ‘the managed heart: Commercialization of human feeling’, Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Hsiung, Hsin-Hua and Wei-Chi Tsai (2009), ‘Job Definition Discrepancy between Supervisors and Subordinates: The Antecedent Role of LMX and Outcomes,’ Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Vol.82 No.2, pp.89–112.
  • Jyoti Sharma and Arti Devi (2011), ‘Role stress among employees: An empirical study of commercial banks’, Gurukul Business Review (GBR), Vol. 7, pp.53-61.
  • Kahn, R.L., Wolfe, D.M., Quinn, R.P., Snoek, J.D., Rosenthal, R.A. (1964), ‘Organizational Stress: studies in Role Conflict and Ambiguity’, Wiley, New York.
  • Kruml, S. M., & Geddes, D. (2000b), ‘Catching fire without burning out: Is there an ideal way to perform emotion labor?’ In N. M. Ashkanasy, C. E. Härtel, W. J. Zerbe (Eds.), Emotions in the workplace (pp.177-188). Wesport, CT: Greenwood.
  • Kruml, S.M., & Geddes, D. (2000a), ‘Exploring the dimensions of emotional labor: The heart of Hochschild’s work’, Management Communication Quarterly, Vol. 14, pp. 8-49.
  • Micheals, R.E., Day, R.L., Joachimsthaler, E.A., (1987), ‘Role stress among industrial buyers: an integrative model’, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 51, pp.28-45.
  • Mohr, Philip, Kevin Howells, Adam Gerace, Andrew Day, and Michelle Wharton (2007), ‘The Role of Perspective Taking in Anger Arousal’, Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 43 No.3, pp.507–517.
  • Pareek, U. (1993), Making Organizational Roles Effective, Tata McGraw-Hill, New Delhi.
  • Putnam, L. L., & Mumby, D. K. (1993), ‘Organizations, emotion and the myth of rationality’, In S. Fineman (Ed.), Emotion in organizations (pp. 36-57). London: Sage.
  • Schuler, R. S. (1975), ‘Role perception, satisfaction, and performance: A partial reconciliation’, Journal of Applied Psychology, 65, pp.183–194.
  • Slatterya, Jeffrey P., Selvarajanb T. and Andersonc, John E. (2008), ‘The Influences of New Employee Development Practices upon Role Stressors and Work-related Attitudes of Temporary Employees’, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 19, No. 12, 2268–2293,
  • Van Maanen, J., & Kunda, G. (1989), ‘Real feelings: Emotional expression and organizational culture’ In L. Cummings & B. Staw (Eds.), Research in organizational behavior (pp. 43-103). Greenwich: JAI.
  • Wheatherly, K.A., Tansik, D.A., (1993), ‘Tactics used by customer contact workers: effects of role stress, boundary spanning and control’, International Journal of Service Industry Management, Vol. 4, pp. 4-17.
  • Yousef, D. A. (2000), ‘the interactive effects of role conflict and role ambiguity on job satisfaction and attitudes toward organizational change: A moderated multiple regression approach’, International Journal of Stress Management, Vol.7, pp.289–303.